Diversity in animal activism: Preparing for impact opportunities for the next 10 years
ADAM PA CARDILINI
The near future promises a range of technologies that could be highly disruptive to
established animal industries, for example Perfect Day milk and SuperMeat. With the right support from animal activists this disruption could accelerate the end of animal industries and potentially save millions of lives. Unfortunately, the lack of diversity of advocacy
strategies utilised by the movement means that this potential is unlikely to be taken
advantage of. While there are a wide range of strategies employed by the movement, all levels spend a large proportion of time on educational outreach explicitly intended for
individuals. Educating individuals is necessary but it largely fails to address social and
structural factors that reinforce the use of non-human animals. This strategy has also
become the standard form of animal activism, arguably to the detriment of other strategies. Recent examples from the New South Wales greyhound industry and Australian dairy
industry exemplify the complexity of achieving industry change, with exposures of abuse in both industries being received differently by the public and each industry experiencing vastly different outcomes. By critically reflecting on these cases it was possible to find gaps in
current animal advocacy approaches and identify additional strategies for reducing barriers to change. Identified strategies for the Australian animal activism context include, a targeted approach to educational outreach, community integrated support networks that facilitate transition, and research identifying alternatives to animal industries for dependent
communities. Increasing the diversity of strategies employed by the movement will make it capable of adapting to opportunities for impact. If the movement wants to take advantage of the coming disruptions it must forecast what is required and begin to build the capacity now.
Adam is an activist, educator and scientist with a particular interest in
developing holistic approaches to advocacy. In 2016 he completed a thesis in ecological genetics but is hoping to develop a research focus in the field of
human & non-human animal relationships. He currently works at Deakin University as an Associate Lecturer in the Faculty of Science, Engineering & Built Environment.